At the edge of a foreststood a big tree. Its branches spread out majestically and so did its roots. It shielded people from the sun, and provided shelter to countless birds and other small creatures in its branches. It buzzed1) with activity all the time.
At the foot of the tree grew a little plant. The plant was willowy2) and delicate, and tended to keel over at the touch of the slightest breeze.
One day, the two neighbors were having a little chat.
"Well, little one," said the tree to the plant, "Why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?"
"I see no need to do so," whispered the plant with a smile. "Actually, I think I may be safer this way."
"Safer!" sneered3) the tree. "Are you suggesting that you're safer than I am? Do you know how deep my roots are buried, how thick and strong my trunk is? Even if two men hold hands they would not be able to surround my trunk. Who could possibly pluck4) me by the roots or bow my head to the ground?" And the tree turned away5) from the plant in a great huff6).
But the tree was to regret its words very soon. One evening a great hurricane7) arose in the region. It hurled8) the trees off their roots and almost completely destroyed the forest. It uprooted the big tree and threw it away with great force.
When the storm had passed, the villagers living nearby surveyed the damage. Mighty trees that had once almost touched the sky were now reduced to stumps9) or worse. The forest was littered10) with their carcasses11).
But there was one exception: the little plant. The plant had been tossed and turned under the fury of the hurricane, and bent completely. But when the hurricane ended, it sighed and stood upright again.
No trace remained of its mighty neighbor though.
1．buzz [bʌz] vi. (常用进行时态)充满低沉嘈杂的(谈话、活动)声音(with)
2．willowy [ˈwɪləʊi] adj. 柔韧的，易弯曲的
3．sneer [snɪə(r)] vi. 嗤笑，嘲笑
4．pluck [plʌk] vt. 拔；摘，采
5．turn away: (使)转变方向；把(脸等)转过去；转过脸去，不看
6．huff [hʌf] n. (一阵)发恼，愤怒
7．hurricane [ˈhʌrɪkeɪn] n. 【气】飓风
8．hurl [hɜː(r)l] vt. 猛投；力掷
9．stump [stʌmp] n. 树墩，树桩；(无枝叶的)残株，残干
10. litter [ˈlɪtə(r)] vt. [常用于被动语态] 使充满(with)
11. carcass [ˈkɑː(r)kəs] n. (鸟、兽的)尸体；(宰后去脏去头的)畜